Chorus on a fun cook’s tour

“The Best Choral Music Ever Written”
Canberra Choral Society
St Paul’s Anglican Church, Manuka, September 24.
Review by Clinton White

TOBIAS Cole’s energetic enthusiasm for choral singing is infectious; one can’t help but be swept up in his love of the art.

Such was the case in this concert, which involved audience participation, including a rather fun warm-up exercise.

In his first outing as the Canberra Choral Society’s new music director, Cole put together what he thought was the best-ever German and Austrian choral writing. He must have been a bit torn when it came to Handel; German-born, but a naturalised Brit when he wrote the oratorio “Saul”; the choir performed a generous extract.

Also featured were works by Bach, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Bruckner, Schütz Praetorius, Carl Orff, Haydn and, of course, Mozart, including what for me was the best piece in the program, Mozart’s serene “Ave verum”.

Supporting the program was Kompactus, a dozen voices led by David Yardley. They sang from different positions around the church, but they really shone as the second choir in the “German Magnificat” of Heinrich Schütz.

Cole achieved an impossible balance between Kompactus and the 70 or so voices of the Choral Society.

Doing a fine job at the piano was Natalia Tkachenko. The voice of soprano Karen Fitz-Gibbon filled the church with beautiful tones in the solos, while the light baritone voice of soloist Daniel Brinsmead was delightful in “Saul”.

Most choral concerts feature an entire oratorio or cantata. This one was a “cook’s tour” through 400 years of the choral repertoire. It was good fun!

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